This book demonstrates that twentieth century social stratification and the distribution of political and economic power in Italy cannot be properly understood without carefully analyzing the historical dynamics of the development of Italian society. This analysis is also needed to explain the woeful economic, and governmental and administrative performance of the strata that finally reached the levers of power. The Italian society and social and political system are in a crisis: development is uneven and the bureaucratic structures are in shambles. The roots of this crisis lie in the endemic underdevelopment typical of the second half of the nineteenth century. Clearly, they cannot be attributed to the historic failures of Fascism, Democracy, Catholicism or Marxism in Italy, but they are the outcome of a long history of underdevelopment followed by extremely uneven regional evolution leading to tremendous cleavages between ultra-modern and utterly antiquated phenomena, the juxtaposition of flexibility and rigidity, of optimistic enthusiasm and hidebound traditionalism, of extreme wealth and abysmal poverty, of high and low levels of earnings, and of a maladjusted, ill-functioning, uneasy combination of agricultural, industrial, and post-industrial society. All this is aggravated by the crisis in the church and by the North-South situation in which many millions of people have migrated from the South to the North, and by the ensuing struggle between a mass of lumpen proletarians and proletarian immigrants from the South, who are exploited as a work force for the industrial development of the North.

chapter |16 pages


part Part One|74 pages

Vertical and Horizontal Structures in Italian Society

chapter Chapter 2|16 pages

The Vertical Structure

chapter Chapter 3|52 pages

The Horizontal Structure

part Part Two|124 pages

The Pyramid of Power – Power-systems and Value-systems

chapter Chapter 4|24 pages

How Power is Legitimated

chapter Chapter 5|54 pages

The Distribution of Power

chapter Chapter 6|44 pages

Political Power in the Strict Sense

chapter |5 pages


Out of Underdevelopment into Crisis